Schenectady’s police lieutenant completes FBI training – The Daily Gazette

SCHENECTADY – For 11 weeks, Lt. Thomas Kelly of the Schenectady Police Department attended college-level classes and wrote several research papers while participating in a grueling daily fitness program.

It was a dream come true for the 47-year-old.

Kelly, a 20-year veteran of the department, is one of 128 law enforcement officials who recently completed training at the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia. The program, created in the 1930s, provides advanced leadership training to senior law enforcement officials by invitation only.

For the past three years, Kelly has sought to participate in the program, but her quest has been delayed due to the pandemic. He finally received his invitation earlier this year and graduated alongside officers from 41 states, three different countries and several military organizations on December 17.

“I kind of always thought about what I could bring back to the department… so this seemed like the best leadership school to go to for law enforcement,” he said. “The history, the reputation and the simple fact of being able to partner with different agencies across the country and to partner with different federal agencies. It really marked me as a great opportunity and something that I wanted to bring back to the department. “

Kelly has continuously sought to advance his career through education since joining the department in 2001, after a one-year stint as a state corrections officer. In 2008, he obtained a Masters of Public Administration from Rockefeller College in Albany, and he holds several graduate certificates, including one in Cybercrime.

He also looked for ways to share his knowledge with his colleagues, especially those new to the field. Kelly was the former head of the department’s office for professional standards and has participated in statewide police training programs since 2008.

Chief Eric Clifford, a 2018 graduate of the National Academy, said recommending the lieutenant was “an easy decision,” adding that Kelly was a leader within the department and aspired to advance his career.

“He was one of my top choices because he previously ran my office for professional standards and he had a strong desire to promote higher, and there is no better training for police executives than the National Academy. , so it was an easy decision on my part, “he said.

Kelly is the first in his family to pursue a career in law enforcement, but comes from a military background, hence his desire to serve.

His 20+ years with the department have spanned the gamut, including a 2010 incident that saw him and another officer be the victim of a shotgun blast while pursuing a suspect in murder.

The couple survived on their Kevlar vests, but the incident took its toll, especially for Kelly’s family.

His children were teased by other children at school who reminded them that their father had been shot, and his wife, who took him to work that night, also had to find ways to cope with the additional stress.

“I took it as luck and as a learning experience as well,” Kelly said. “A sort of reminder of the fragility of life. “

The shooter, Adrian Parbhudial, was sentenced to 40 years in life imprisonment for the incident.

Kelly said the shooting never made him deviate from his chosen profession, but admitted it shaped his approach to the job, especially when training young officers.

“As I deal and work with agents with my time within professional standards, I just remember how difficult law enforcement is and how difficult it can be at times, and how things happen. quickly. In a fraction of a second, ”he said. “This is something that I used as a reminder when evaluating agent performance. Recognize the challenges they face on a daily basis.

While at Quantico, Kelly took classes in everything from crisis negotiations and personal wellness to leadership psychology. He has also attended several conferences featuring activists from the LGBTQ community and the mental health field.

Participants also visited several national museums in the Washington, DC area, including the National Museum of African American History and Culture, which Kelly called a valuable experience.

His time in Virginia reminded him of why he entered the field in the first place, Kelly said.

“It’s almost invigorating. It’s a reminder of the original oath we take as a law enforcement officer and the importance of instilling it in new officers as they continue to work throughout their careers ” , did he declare.

Clifford and Kelly both said they believed the training would help the ministry’s efforts to implement its police reform plan, which calls for greater community awareness and overhaul of welfare programs. be agents – all of which Kelly trained in Quantico.

Clifford said Kelly was already scheduled to host a number of training sessions in the New Year after returning from a brief sabbatical after staying in Virginia.

Kelly, meanwhile, acknowledged that law enforcement is changing, but said the work at the grassroots remains the same.

“As much as police services change, it’s always the same,” he said. “It’s a relationship between the public and the police and to keep everyone safe and protect each other.”

Contact reporter Chad Arnold at: 518-410-5117 or [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter: @ChadGArnold.

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